Anyway, so back to my parents. It is totally a God thing that they are together. My dad grew up on a farm in Hopkinsville, KY until he left home to go to Austin Peay University in Clarksville, TN. He majored in Music Education and played percussion in the marching band. His senior year, he met with a recruiter from Florida who was looking for teachers. He decided to pick up and move to Jacksonville, FL where he knew no one to start a new life. He visited First Baptist Church the first weekend he was in town and met a man named Bob Temple who invited him to stay with him until he found an apartment. He began working for Duval County Public Schools the very next week (I believe-My parents can correct me if I'm wrong).
My mom grew up in Jacksonville, FL with her mom, a registered nurse. They attended FBC as well. When my mom graduated from high school, she went to live with her aunt in Pensacola, FL where she went to college to be a dental assistant. She met her best friend while living there and they would become my parents oldest, and dearest friends to this day (they were my second parents and loved me like their own). My mom moved back to Jacksonville where she began to work in banking. She also returned to FBC. One thing you may not know about my mom is that she is very musical! She sang in choir at church all through high school and played the piano very well! That leads to the exciting part!
My dad was at this point involved with the music ministry at the church. At this time he was filling in as director for the Chancel Choir (he has lead every age choir except 2nd grade. Just an interesting fact thrown in). Mary Frances Whittaker was his piano player and one evening she wasn't feeling well so she asked my mom to go and play for the choir during rehearsal. Needless to say, that was the first time they met.
I love hearing stories of the time they were dating. Apparently my dad would hang out with other girls, then come watch TV at my mom's house. :) We give him a hard time about being a ladies man! :) Their first official date was to a parade. It was a patriotic holiday of some sort (sorry, I forgot). What I do know is that it didn't take long for them to realize they wanted to get married. Hence today being their 44th wedding anniversary.
I am SO thankful that God allowed me to be a part of my family. My parents aren't perfect, but I can promise you that I never doubted that my parents loved me and my brothers. I am thankful for the example of their marriage. Through the ups and downs that every couple face, they showed the importance of commitment. They taught me the value of family. To this day, I'd rather be with my family than anywhere else.
My mom is one of the most generous people I know. She is always giving to others in some way or another. She is quick to bake her famous pound cake, open her home to our friends growing up, and now to middle schoolers. :) She is the epitome of the word loyalty. Once you are her friend, she is your friend to the end. She is wonderful at keeping in touch with people and making them feel special. God has given her a gift with people. She doesn't always realize it, but she has a way of making people feel special and appreciated. She prays for people and one of my earliest memories as a kid was walking into her office and seeing her Bible on her desk. She is a Christian and has never been ashamed to say it. She is always one of the first people you call when something goes wrong. She is always proud of me and my accomplishments. She was ALWAYS at my performances (and there were a lot) and she always invited important people from my life to be there too. I don't know how many performances Rodney Brooks was at because my mom bugged him to come because she knew it would mean the world to me. I love you, Mom!
What to say about my dad? I love my dad! My dad is one of the kindest, humblest, most gentle men I have ever met. I can count the number of times I have heard him raise his voice on one hand. He is so laid back and easy going. He tends to take life just one day at a time. Some of my favorite memories with my dad are from those summers growing up. Since my dad was a teacher, he stayed home with us each summer. I remember painting our house one year. As a parent now, I can't believe he let us help paint! I can only imagine what my house would look like if I let Katelyn help paint! Yikes! It would be pink, purple, and yellow! :) Anyways, I remember going to pool every day and begging to take a picnic lunch. Even before that, I remember the countless nights he would rock me to sleep in the rocking chair in the living room. I remember sitting in his lap and him falling asleep before I would! I remember him singing "Angels Watching Over Me" every night before bed. He would braid my hair in the evenings so it wouldn't be all tangled in the mornings (I had very long hair as a kid). I remember singing with him in different Sunday School classes. He taught me to use my gifts and talents for the Lord. I remember thinking my dad could do anything and I still do! I love you, Dad!
This is only the beginning of the legacy you are leaving! We love you!
Williamsburg, Virginia, 2008